The two forest-management practices of prescribed burning and thinning are techniques used to reduce heavy fuel loads that have resulted from years of fire suppression. Therefore, the National Fire and Fire Surrogate (NFFS) study was conducted to determine the effects of prescribed burning and thinning on different environmental factors. This study was conducted in the Clemson University Experimental Forest in South Carolina, one of the 13 NFFS sites in the United States, and examined the impacts of these management practices on spider populations. We used pitfall traps to sample ground-dwelling spiders to determine if changes in population levels had occurred one year following implementation of these practices. We collected a total of 1220 specimens of Araneae, representing 13 families. Results indicated that by 1-year post-treatment, spider populations had recovered following the initial (2001) burning and thinning. However, in 2002, when we compared the first post-burn samples to pre-burn samples in thin burn plots, we found a significant decrease in the mean abundance of Agelenidae and Linyphiidae after the prescribed burn.
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Vol. 13 • No. 2